Renew Your Mind

‘Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ Romans 12:2 NKJV

Sometimes we try to excuse our negativity by saying, ‘Just kidding; it didn’t mean anything.’ But it does! A wrong word spoken or a wrong thought left to roam your mind can take root and grow into what the Bible calls a ‘stronghold’ (see 2 Corinthians 10:4). And when a thought becomes that stubborn, it begins to control your outlook, your attitude, and your actions.

That’s why the Bible says, ‘Be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude].’ (Romans 12:2 AMPC) Wherever the mind goes, we follow! We all face challenges and difficulties in life. You might allow yourself to think thoughts such as: ‘I just can’t take any more,’ or ‘If one more thing happens, I’m going right over the edge!’ or ‘If things don’t change soon—I’m giving up!’

That kind of thinking prepares you for defeat before you even spot a problem. There is nothing strong, powerful, enabling, or victorious in thinking you will go over the edge or in deciding to quit. Those are losing attitudes, not winning outlooks. Instead you should think, ‘If the attack is this great, then the blessing that lies beyond it is greater.’ Or, ‘If Satan is attacking me this hard, God must have something really good in store for me!’

Become a person who is spiritually, emotionally, and mentally prepared for any challenge that crosses your path. Don’t allow yourself to be easily discouraged or defeated. And you do that by ‘the renewing of your mind’ with God’s Word.

SoulFood: Is 58–62, John 7:45–53, Ps 115, Prov 29:7–10

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2018

Today’s Readings

Isaiah 58–62 (Listen)

58:1   “Cry aloud; do not hold back;
    lift up your voice like a trumpet;
  declare to my people their transgression,
    to the house of Jacob their sins.
  Yet they seek me daily
    and delight to know my ways,
  as if they were a nation that did righteousness
    and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
  they ask of me righteous judgments;
    they delight to draw near to God.
  ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
    Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
  Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
    and oppress all your workers.
  Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
    and to hit with a wicked fist.
  Fasting like yours this day
    will not make your voice to be heard on high.
  Is such the fast that I choose,
    a day for a person to humble himself?
  Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
    and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
  Will you call this a fast,
    and a day acceptable to the LORD?
  “Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of wickedness,
    to undo the straps of the yoke,
  to let the oppressed go free,
    and to break every yoke?
  Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
  when you see the naked, to cover him,
    and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
  Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up speedily;
  your righteousness shall go before you;
    the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
  Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
    you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
  If you take away the yoke from your midst,
    the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10   if you pour yourself out for the hungry
    and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
  then shall your light rise in the darkness
    and your gloom be as the noonday.
11   And the LORD will guide you continually
    and satisfy your desire in scorched places
    and make your bones strong;
  and you shall be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water,
    whose waters do not fail.
12   And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
    you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
  you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
    the restorer of streets to dwell in.
13   “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
    from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
  and call the Sabbath a delight
    and the holy day of the LORD honorable;
  if you honor it, not going your own ways,
    or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
14   then you shall take delight in the LORD,
    and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
  I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
    for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

59:1   Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,
    or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;
  but your iniquities have made a separation
    between you and your God,
  and your sins have hidden his face from you
    so that he does not hear.
  For your hands are defiled with blood
    and your fingers with iniquity;
  your lips have spoken lies;
    your tongue mutters wickedness.
  No one enters suit justly;
    no one goes to law honestly;
  they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies,
    they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity.
  They hatch adders' eggs;
    they weave the spider's web;
  he who eats their eggs dies,
    and from one that is crushed a viper is hatched.
  Their webs will not serve as clothing;
    men will not cover themselves with what they make.
  Their works are works of iniquity,
    and deeds of violence are in their hands.
  Their feet run to evil,
    and they are swift to shed innocent blood;
  their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity;
    desolation and destruction are in their highways.
  The way of peace they do not know,
    and there is no justice in their paths;
  they have made their roads crooked;
    no one who treads on them knows peace.
  Therefore justice is far from us,
    and righteousness does not overtake us;
  we hope for light, and behold, darkness,
    and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.
10   We grope for the wall like the blind;
    we grope like those who have no eyes;
  we stumble at noon as in the twilight,
    among those in full vigor we are like dead men.
11   We all growl like bears;
    we moan and moan like doves;
  we hope for justice, but there is none;
    for salvation, but it is far from us.
12   For our transgressions are multiplied before you,
    and our sins testify against us;
  for our transgressions are with us,
    and we know our iniquities:
13   transgressing, and denying the LORD,
    and turning back from following our God,
  speaking oppression and revolt,
    conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words.

14   Justice is turned back,
    and righteousness stands far away;
  for truth has stumbled in the public squares,
    and uprightness cannot enter.
15   Truth is lacking,
    and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

  The LORD saw it, and it displeased him
    that there was no justice.
16   He saw that there was no man,
    and wondered that there was no one to intercede;
  then his own arm brought him salvation,
    and his righteousness upheld him.
17   He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
    and a helmet of salvation on his head;
  he put on garments of vengeance for clothing,
    and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.
18   According to their deeds, so will he repay,
    wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies;
    to the coastlands he will render repayment.
19   So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west,
    and his glory from the rising of the sun;
  for he will come like a rushing stream,
    which the wind of the LORD drives.
20   “And a Redeemer will come to Zion,
    to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the LORD.

21 “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children's offspring,” says the LORD, “from this time forth and forevermore.”

60:1   Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
  For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
    and thick darkness the peoples;
  but the LORD will arise upon you,
    and his glory will be seen upon you.
  And nations shall come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your rising.
  Lift up your eyes all around, and see;
    they all gather together, they come to you;
  your sons shall come from afar,
    and your daughters shall be carried on the hip.
  Then you shall see and be radiant;
    your heart shall thrill and exult,
  because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,
    the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
  A multitude of camels shall cover you,
    the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
    all those from Sheba shall come.
  They shall bring gold and frankincense,
    and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD.
  All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you;
    the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you;
  they shall come up with acceptance on my altar,
    and I will beautify my beautiful house.
  Who are these that fly like a cloud,
    and like doves to their windows?
  For the coastlands shall hope for me,
    the ships of Tarshish first,
  to bring your children from afar,
    their silver and gold with them,
  for the name of the LORD your God,
    and for the Holy One of Israel,
    because he has made you beautiful.
10   Foreigners shall build up your walls,
    and their kings shall minister to you;
  for in my wrath I struck you,
    but in my favor I have had mercy on you.
11   Your gates shall be open continually;
    day and night they shall not be shut,
  that people may bring to you the wealth of the nations,
    with their kings led in procession.
12   For the nation and kingdom
    that will not serve you shall perish;
    those nations shall be utterly laid waste.
13   The glory of Lebanon shall come to you,
    the cypress, the plane, and the pine,
  to beautify the place of my sanctuary,
    and I will make the place of my feet glorious.
14   The sons of those who afflicted you
    shall come bending low to you,
  and all who despised you
    shall bow down at your feet;
  they shall call you the City of the LORD,
    the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
15   Whereas you have been forsaken and hated,
    with no one passing through,
  I will make you majestic forever,
    a joy from age to age.
16   You shall suck the milk of nations;
    you shall nurse at the breast of kings;
  and you shall know that I, the LORD, am your Savior
    and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
17   Instead of bronze I will bring gold,
    and instead of iron I will bring silver;
  instead of wood, bronze,
    instead of stones, iron.
  I will make your overseers peace
    and your taskmasters righteousness.
18   Violence shall no more be heard in your land,
    devastation or destruction within your borders;
  you shall call your walls Salvation,
    and your gates Praise.
19   The sun shall be no more
    your light by day,
  nor for brightness shall the moon
    give you light;
  but the LORD will be your everlasting light,
    and your God will be your glory.
20   Your sun shall no more go down,
    nor your moon withdraw itself;
  for the LORD will be your everlasting light,
    and your days of mourning shall be ended.
21   Your people shall all be righteous;
    they shall possess the land forever,
  the branch of my planting, the work of my hands,
    that I might be glorified.
22   The least one shall become a clan,
    and the smallest one a mighty nation;
  I am the LORD;
    in its time I will hasten it.

61:1   The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
    because the LORD has anointed me
  to bring good news to the poor;
    he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
  to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
  to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
  to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
  the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
  that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.
  They shall build up the ancient ruins;
    they shall raise up the former devastations;
  they shall repair the ruined cities,
    the devastations of many generations.
  Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks;
    foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;
  but you shall be called the priests of the LORD;
    they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;
  you shall eat the wealth of the nations,
    and in their glory you shall boast.
  Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion;
    instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;
  therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
    they shall have everlasting joy.
  For I the LORD love justice;
    I hate robbery and wrong;
  I will faithfully give them their recompense,
    and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
  Their offspring shall be known among the nations,
    and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;
  all who see them shall acknowledge them,
    that they are an offspring the LORD has blessed.
10   I will greatly rejoice in the LORD;
    my soul shall exult in my God,
  for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
    he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
  as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11   For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
    and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
  so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise
    to sprout up before all the nations.

62:1   For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,
    and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet,
  until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
    and her salvation as a burning torch.
  The nations shall see your righteousness,
    and all the kings your glory,
  and you shall be called by a new name
    that the mouth of the LORD will give.
  You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD,
    and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
  You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
    and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
  but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
    and your land Married;
  for the LORD delights in you,
    and your land shall be married.
  For as a young man marries a young woman,
    so shall your sons marry you,
  and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
    so shall your God rejoice over you.
  On your walls, O Jerusalem,
    I have set watchmen;
  all the day and all the night
    they shall never be silent.
  You who put the LORD in remembrance,
    take no rest,
  and give him no rest
    until he establishes Jerusalem
    and makes it a praise in the earth.
  The LORD has sworn by his right hand
    and by his mighty arm:
  “I will not again give your grain
    to be food for your enemies,
  and foreigners shall not drink your wine
    for which you have labored;
  but those who garner it shall eat it
    and praise the LORD,
  and those who gather it shall drink it
    in the courts of my sanctuary.”
10   Go through, go through the gates;
    prepare the way for the people;
  build up, build up the highway;
    clear it of stones;
    lift up a signal over the peoples.
11   Behold, the LORD has proclaimed
    to the end of the earth:
  Say to the daughter of Zion,
    “Behold, your salvation comes;
  behold, his reward is with him,
    and his recompense before him.”
12   And they shall be called The Holy People,
    The Redeemed of the LORD;
  and you shall be called Sought Out,
    A City Not Forsaken.

John 7:45–53 (Listen)

45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” 47 The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? 48 Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

[The earliest manuscripts do not include 7:53–8:11.]

53 [[They went each to his own house,

Psalm 115 (Listen)

115:1   Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory,
    for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
  Why should the nations say,
    “Where is their God?”
  Our God is in the heavens;
    he does all that he pleases.
  Their idols are silver and gold,
    the work of human hands.
  They have mouths, but do not speak;
    eyes, but do not see.
  They have ears, but do not hear;
    noses, but do not smell.
  They have hands, but do not feel;
    feet, but do not walk;
    and they do not make a sound in their throat.
  Those who make them become like them;
    so do all who trust in them.
  O Israel, trust in the LORD!
    He is their help and their shield.
10   O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD!
    He is their help and their shield.
11   You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD!
    He is their help and their shield.
12   The LORD has remembered us; he will bless us;
    he will bless the house of Israel;
    he will bless the house of Aaron;
13   he will bless those who fear the LORD,
    both the small and the great.
14   May the LORD give you increase,
    you and your children!
15   May you be blessed by the LORD,
    who made heaven and earth!
16   The heavens are the LORD's heavens,
    but the earth he has given to the children of man.
17   The dead do not praise the LORD,
    nor do any who go down into silence.
18   But we will bless the LORD
    from this time forth and forevermore.
  Praise the LORD!

Proverbs 29:7–10 (Listen)

  A righteous man knows the rights of the poor;
    a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.
  Scoffers set a city aflame,
    but the wise turn away wrath.
  If a wise man has an argument with a fool,
    the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.
10   Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless
    and seek the life of the upright.

Wed 08 November, 2017


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